Mountain biodiversity


Mountains loom large in some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes.
Their unique topography, compressed climatic zones and isolation have created the conditions for a wide spectrum of life forms.

Half of the world’s biodiversity hotspots are concentrated in mountains and mountains support approximately one-quarter of terrestrial biological diversity. Mountains are home to rare species of plants and animals. These include increasingly rare animals such as gorillas, mountain lions, and the majestic tahr or strikingly beautiful plants such as orchids and lobelias.

A large portion of the world's most precious gene pools (for agriculture and medicine) are preserved in mountains. Crops that are important for food security, such as maize, potatoes, barley, sorghum, tomatoes, beans and apples, have been diversified in mountains and an array of domestic animals - sheep, goats, yaks, llamas and alpacas - have originated or been diversified in mountains. Other crops, such as wheat, rye, rice, oats and grapes, have found new homes in the mountains and evolved into many varieties. Coffee and tea, with their roots in Ethiopia and the Himalayan region, are mountain crops as well. Medicinal plants are one of the most valuable resources from high altitudes. This rich biodiversity holds cultural, ecological and economic value. In the Andes, for example, farmers know of as many as 200 different varieties of indigenous potatoes and, in Nepal, they farm approximately 2 000 varieties of rice.

Climate change, poverty, commercial mining, logging and poaching all exact a heavy toll on mountain biodiversity. The sustainable management of mountain biodiversity has increasingly been recognized as a global priority. The Convention on Biological Diversity adopted a Programme of Work on Mountain Biological Diversity in 2004, which includes a set of actions and targets addressing characteristics and problems that are specific to mountain ecosystems. 

 

Fifth Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership

Fifth Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership

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The Fifth Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership (MP) will take place 21-22 October in Mbale, Uganda. This Global Meeting, three years after the last one, which took place in Erzurum, Turkey, will provide members with an opportunity to discuss delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals, which include three mountain-related targets,...

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New ICIMOD publications about yaks

New ICIMOD publications about yaks

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The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), based in Kathmandu, Nepal, announces the release of several new publications on its online library, HimalDoc. The publications span a range of topics, including value chain development in the Hindu Kush Himalayas, the impact of Nepal’s 2015 Gorkha earthquake, water conservation...

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July issue of eco.mont journal now available

July issue of eco.mont journal now available

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The July 2016 issue of “eco.mont – The Journal on Protected Mountain Areas Research and Management” is now available online. The journal was founded as a joint initiative of the Alpine Network of Protected Areas (ALPARC), the International Scientific Committee on Research in the Alps (ISCAR), the Read more »

New blog from mountain writer Tamara Griffiths

New blog from mountain writer Tamara Griffiths

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Tamara Griffiths is a ‘mountain writer’. After completing her master’s degree in Sustainable Mountain Development at University of Highlands and Islands Scotland’s Centre for Mountain Studies, Griffiths became engaged by The Huffington Post, reporting on mountain issues, focusing on mountain foods. Her most recent blog, “Food That is...

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IPROMO 2016 Summer School: Managing mountain resources and diversities - the role of protected areas

IPROMO 2016 Summer School: Managing mountain resources and diversities - the role of protected areas

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The ninth International Programme on Research and Training on Sustainable Management of Mountain Areas (IPROMO), organized by the Mountain Partnership Secretariat and the University of Turin, will focus on “Managing mountain resources and diversities: the role of protected areas”. It will focus on several aspects that contribute to the productive...

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Call for mountain photographs for IMD

Call for mountain photographs for IMD

peak to peak

                                                                       Issue 94 – Month 7 – Year 2016

The July issue of...

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